Shares moved 2% higher throughout the week, with investors looking past mixed earnings reports to spur the market towards what was at one stage a two-month high. While some blue-chip stocks handed down results that disappointed shareholders, there were various companies that provided positive trading updates and soared higher. The ASX 200 closed trading today on 6,126.2 points.
Which shares excelled?
Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE) was right among the frontrunners in terms of outperforming the market this week, soaring 17.6%. The rally came in the wake of the company’s FY20 earnings result. Positive commentary surrounding a rebound in Chinese sales caught the attention of shareholders, as did the company’s plan to halve volume and exit lower-margin commercial wines in the difficult ‘Americas’ market.
Travel stocks were back in the spotlight as optimism begins to build around the prospect of an effective vaccine. There was some support for US airline stocks early in the week amid increasing traffic data and the likelihood of further federal support. Corporate Travel Management (ASX: CTD), Flight Centre (ASX: FLT), Webjet (ASX: WEB) and Qantas (ASX: QAN) all had a stellar week. Flight Centre’s trading update also proved a catalyst as it highlighted a better-than-expected performance from its exposure to corporate travel, as well as an extended cash runway.
Corporate activity was also afloat during the week, with enterprise software firm Fineos (ASX: FCL) announcing it would acquire US insurance software business Limelight Health. Management have touted the move as means to expand FINEOS’ addressable market with a complementary offering, while also extending its US capabilities. The company completed an $85 million institutional placement as part of the deal. Shares in FCL ended the week with a gain of 11.6%.
A business update from Kogan (ASX: KGN) was enough to propel its shares higher throughout the week, with the stock finishing up 16.1%. In its update, the e-commerce retailer advised that active customers grew by 126,000 over July, while gross sales and gross profit both leapt by triple-figures when compared with the prior corresponding period.
There were also strong performances from various other stocks that reported this week, including AMP (ASX: AMP), QBE (ASX: QBE), NAB (ASX: NAB), Premier Investments (ASX: PMV), Magellan (ASX: MFG) and Baby Bunting (ASX: BBN). All delivered results that largely came in better than expected.
Which shares dragged on the market?
Most gold stocks were savaged this week on the back of lower gold prices, albeit some of the mid-to-large cap miners fared slightly better than their peers. The price of gold was down by nearly as much as US$200/oz at one stage, before paring some of its losses from mid-week. Among the stocks which felt the brunt of the action were Alacer Gold Corp (ASX: AQG), Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS), AngloGold Ashanti (ASX: AGG), Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR) and Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST).
Telecoms were also hit hard in the wake of Telstra’s (ASX: TLS) FY20 results. Although the nation’s biggest telecommunications company delivered shareholders some respite thanks to an 8 cent dividend, underlying EBITDA proved a sticking point, dropping 9.7% in FY20 and forecast to fall just as sharply in FY21. Shares in Telstra ended the week 7.7% lower. Selling pressure also flowed through to TPG Telecom (ASX: TPG), where shareholders seemingly retreated out of caution. TPG shares were down 8%.
Challenger (ASX: CGF) shares were sold down this week as the company delivered results at the low end of its guidance and below most analysts’ forecasts. With the company also scrapping its dividend, the stock found no favour, down to the tune of 8.6%.
A soft trading outlook for Seek (ASX: SEK) was responsible for sending its shares cratering 8.6% this week. Although there was some positive news around the company’s operations in China and the overall direction in the jobs market over the last few months, that recovery is proving to be largely slower than some shareholders may have anticipated.
The prospect of a faster-than-expected drop in electricity prices pushed a number of investors to abandon AGL (ASX: AGL), with the stock sinking 8.8% this week. With the electricity price cycle potentially stuck in a trough for some time yet, largely due to oversupply, the company’s near-term outlook may have been responsible for the change in sentiment.
Finally, despite posting a strong earnings report, Breville (ASX: BRG) was subject to a sharp sell-off, with investors selling into the news following a strong run in the lead-up to its results.
We’ll be back next week with another Weekly ASX Trading Wrap Up – until then, have a great weekend!
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